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The Northwest-Gary campus offers the same high quality medical education as all the school’s statewide campuses, with a unique focus on underserved urban communities.
large group photo of the Gary class of 2024 volunteering with the food bank

Urban Medicine Program

Social determinants of health such as poverty, unequal access to health care, lack of education, stigma and racism are underlying factors of health inequities. The Urban Medicine Program at Indiana University School of Medicine–Northwest-Gary is committed to achieving improvements in people's lives by reducing health inequities in the most underserved communities throughout Northwest Indiana.

This unique four-year MD program emphasizes primary care and other specialties of need in medically underserved communities. The curriculum is constructed to maximize exposure to clinical experiences early in the training process. Additionally, all basic science courses in the first two years of the program have a clinical correlation with emphasis on social determinants of health and diversity, equity and inclusion work. The Urban Medicine Program strives to develop a culturally competent and uniquely well-rounded physician poised to serve urban communities.

IU School of Medicine's Gary campus provides training to first- and second-year medical students from both the traditional MD track and the urban medicine track. Students in the urban medicine track stay in Gary for the third and fourth years of medical school.

Medical students at IU School of Medicine–Northwest-Gary benefit from the statewide MD curriculum paired with remarkable access to patients and a broad range of clinical experiences in nine full-service hospitals and five federally qualified health clinics throughout Northwest Indiana. Alumni report stellar preparation for externships and graduate medical education, and graduates of IU School of Medicine’s Gary campus successfully match among their top choices of competitive residencies.

Apply to the Urban Medicine Program

Applicants are considered for the traditional MD program and the urban medicine program simultaneously and interview with members of both urban and traditional admission committees. Interested students must complete an AMCAS application and submit a separate request for Urban Medicine track consideration.

Apply to the MD program

Request Urban Medicine track consideration

MedEd Matters

First cohort enters Urban Medicine program at IU School of Medicine-Northwest

Medical students in the Urban Medicine program at IU School of Medicine-Northwest benefit from the statewide MD curriculum offered at all campuses with an added emphasis on social determinants of health and elevating diversity, equity and inclusion in the context of urban, underserved patient populations.

Laura Gates  |  Jan 12, 2023

Program Goals

The Urban Medicine Program integrates basic and clinical sciences with a focus on urban medicine and medically underserved communities by focusing on social determinants of health and elevating diversity, equity and inclusion work. This unique focus for the MD program seeks to have students:

  • Demonstrate diversity, equity and inclusion knowledge, attitude and skills working in the context of urban medicine and with underserved patient populations

  • Demonstrate social determinants of health knowledge, attitude and skills working in the context of urban medicine and with underserved patient populations

  • Demonstrate skill development across the Undergraduate Medical Education (UME) continuum working toward a culturally competent practitioner

  • Demonstrate skills in collaborating with interdisciplinary teams in an urban health setting.

The program also aims to increase the number of IU School of Medicine graduates who enter medical practice in an urban setting and medically underserved communities (in all specialties).

View the program fact sheet

a student teaches high school students at a hands-on learning event in Gary

MD Enrichment Programs in Northwest-Gary

  • Early and accelerated clinical procedural skills development

    A robust standardized patient program with six dedicated examination rooms for history and physical training ensures that students develop an early mastery of fundamental clinical skills in the first year of medical school and gain the skills and knowledge needed for graduation, residency, internships and a success career as a physician. Educating physicians to practice effectively in urban settings requires an emphasis on a broad range of clinical topics and skills specific to this work environment. In the Urban Medicine Program, students practice these hands-on skills in a federally qualified health center, experiencing continuity with a patient panel, peers, preceptors and a population over time. This clinical environment connects the statewide MD curriculum to real-world communities in Gary.

  • Longitudinal experiences with patients in urban communities

    Early immersion in urban health care leads to a deeper understanding of the meaningful long-term relationships patients, physicians and communities develop over time. From the first semester of medical school, students in the urban medicine track will participate in a preceptorship program with local physicians, develop long-term professional relationships with underserved patient populations, and gain insight into the social and cultural aspects of urban health care. Medical students in the urban medicine program are assigned to a clinic team that actively manages a patient panel in a team environment and monitors quality metrics through all four years of medical school. Students will quickly develop a relationship with their patients while advocating for their patients, panel, and community.

  • Integration of service-learning with community partners

    The Urban Medicine Program is designed to make a difference in the Gary community. The program is committed to helping improve the lives of residents through service-learning throughout the four-year curriculum. These partnerships strengthen medical education while impacting the community through efforts such as COVID mitigation testing and vaccination clinics, mobile clinics to serve underrepresented minority communities, addressing cancer rates in minority populations, and addressing food insecurity with the Northwest Indiana Foodbank. Students will engage in service throughout their four-year medical education and develop a service-learning educator's portfolio to carry into residency.

  • Scholarly Concentration: Urban Medicine and Health Care Disparities

    The Urban Medicine and Health Care Disparities Scholarly Concentration provides students with an understanding of the historical and contemporary barriers that exist for the nation’s medically underserved in urban areas. Through coursework, students will investigate authentic cross-cultural and linguistic issues in health care and be able to demonstrate how sensitivity to such issues improves health care for all. Through scholarly project work, students will act as advocates by developing interventions to address or reduce health disparities. The scholarly concentration is a requirement of the Urban Medicine Program and will culminate in a community based participatory research manuscript.

  • Electives

    The IU School of Medicine Northwest-Gary campus offers more than 30 electives and clerkships for fourth-year medical students, giving each student ample opportunity to pursue focused training in specific areas of interest. In addition to this flexibility for planning an individual program, students benefit from extensive support and guidance. Elective courses in both the basic sciences and clinical sciences are designed to widen the overall student experience in medical education. The electives portfolio also provides students with opportunities to strengthen areas of weakness and/or pursue subjects of special interest.

Bring on tomorrow
An IU medical student listens to a patient's chest with a stethoscope.

IU trains physicians to practice in rural and urban areas of critical need

The United States is facing a daunting physician shortage. According to a recent national address from American Medical Association President Jesse M. Ehrenfeld, more than 83 million people in the United States live in areas without sufficient access to a primary-care physician.

IU School of Medicine is tackling the challenge with two unique programs designed to train and retain physicians where they are needed most: in medically underserved rural and urban areas.

Laura Gates | Jan. 18, 2024